The Ghana Child Labour Survey is the first nationwide survey in Ghana specifically designed to collect information on the various aspects of working children, within the framework of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). It is a two-in-one survey, which canvassed children in households as well as children on the street, using two different sample designs.
The Ghana Child Labour Survey (GCLS) field data collection took place in January-February 2001, after two months of preparatory activities that included a pretest of instruments and methodology.
Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Household Population
The 9889 households interviewed contained 47,955 persons, with a sex ratio of 96.7. About one-fifth of the population is made up of household heads, while children constitute about a half (49.7%); children aged 5-17, in comparison, make up 35.5 percent of the population. The rural areas make up 60.3 percent of the population. Information collected on school attendance shows that nearly the same proportion of the sample population had never attended school (30.8%), as were those currently in school (34.4%) or had attended school in the past (34.8%). Marked disparities existed in school attendance at the regional level, with over 60 percent of the sample population in the three northern regions having never gone to school.
The economically active persons constituted 57.5 percent of the sample, the majority of whom were in agriculture/forestry/fishing (51.1%), followed by sales workers (16.9%). The pattern applied to all regions, except Greater Accra where sales workers predominated. Majority of the economically active population were self-employed, own account workers (54.7%), followed by unpaid family workers (29.8%). Over 90 percent of population worked in the informal sector.
Households in the country derive much of their income from self-employment in agricultural activities (49.1%); self-employment in non-agricultural activities accounts for 28.0 percent, while regular wage employment makes up 14.0 percent. With the exception of Greater Accra, agriculture is the major source of income for households in all the regions.
Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Children aged 5-17
The number of children aged 5-17 is estimated by the survey to be about 6.4 million (6,361,111). Children aged 5-9 years constitute 41.8 percent (2,657,258); the 10-14 age group is 39.5 percent (2,515,463) while the 15-17 age group is 18.7 percent (1,188,390). Males constitute 52.9 percent of the 5-17 age group; indeed, there are more boys than girls in each of the three age groups. Most of the children live in rural areas (62.3%).
Ashanti Region has the largest share (15.5%) of the children, followed by Northern (14.0%) and Greater Accra (11.7%). Variations in regional distribution of children (5-17) from the 2000 census are attributable mainly to differences in the average household sizes for the various regions. The predominant ethnic groups of the children are Akans (44.3%) and Mole-Dagbani (18.7%).
Over three quarters (76.5%) of the children are attending school, while 17.6 percent have never attended school. With the exception of the three northern regions, more than 80 percent of the children in all the other regions are attending school. Nearly half (46.5%) of the children in the Northern Region have never attended school. Slightly higher proportion of males in all regions are attending school, compared with females.
The three major reasons for children never attending school are affordability (44.2%), distance from school (18.4%) and lack of interest in schooling (17.1%). These reasons apply to both males and females.
The highest level of schooling attained by majority of the children is primary (56.1%), which is what is expected of the age group. The survey shows that only 2.0 percent of the children are receiving training, with males being in fitting/mechanics and carpentry and females in dress making, catering/bakery and hairdressing. About 20 percent of the children are neither schooling nor receiving any training.
Background information on parents indicates that neither death nor divorce/ separation of parents are significant factors for child labour. Virtually all the children (99.7%) reported that both parents were working. Majority of the parents were self-employed.
Activities of Children
Information collected indicates that 2,474,545 children were engaged in usual economic activity, which is about 2 in every 5 children aged 5-17 years. Half of the rural children and about one fifth of the urban children were in economic activity. About 40 percent of working children (39.8%) worked for more than 6 months. More than a half of the children in Greater Accra, Central and Eastern regions worked for more than 6 months out of the year.
Estimates indicate that 1,590,765 children were attending school while working, which is 64.3 percent of children engaged in usual economic activity.
With respect to current economic activity, 31.3 percent (or 1,984,107) of the children aged 5-17 years were estimated to engage in economic activity during the 7 days preceding the interview; the proportion increased with age. A higher proportion of children in rural areas (39.7%) are more likely to engage in economic activity than urban children (17.6%).
About two-thirds of the children (68.7%) did no work; 80.5 percent of these were full-time students. Over 90 percent of children in urban areas did no work because they were attending school, compared to 71.7 percent in rural areas.
Nature and Conditions of Work
About 57 percent (1,128,072) of the working children were engaged in agriculture/forestry/fishing, while 21 percent worked as hawkers and street vendors, selling iced water, food and other items. Eleven percent engaged in general labourer work, such as washing of cars, fetching firewood and water, pushing trucks (males), and carrying goods as porters (mainly females). It is estimated that 1,338,794 of the working children were part-time workers. About a third were in full-time and permanent employment.
A significant proportion (88.0%) of the working children were unpaid family workers, and apprentices, while 5.9 percent were own-account workers (or self-employed). About 70 percent (68.7%) of the children worked between two and five hours a day.
Over a third of the children (36.7%) were paid daily, while 28.5 percent were on piece rate. Over 80 percent received payment themselves.
Most working children (60%) were satisfied with their jobs. Those who were not satisfied reported that their work was too tiring or wages and earnings were too low.
About 90 percent of the children engage in housekeeping activities on a regular basis. There are slight rural (92.0%) and urban (86%) and regional variations. On average, 73 percent of the children spend less than 3 hours a day on household chores. The older the child, the more time he/she spends on household chores. Only about one percent of the children spend more than 7 hours a day on household chores. Gender of the head of household does not affect children's involvement in household chores. Only about 5 percent of the children were reported by parents to have been idle, with the reason that either the child was too young to work or sick.
Health and Safety
According to parents, 29.4 percent of the children had suffered injuries, compared to 22.7 percent reported by the children themselves. More than half of the injuries occurred at home and were mostly cuts and wounds. About a quarter of the children who were injured at the work place worked in agriculture. The injuries, in a great number of cases (40.0%), were not serious and did not require any medical treatment, while 38.6 percent were treated and discharged.
Parents Perception and Preferences
According to parents of 93 percent of the children, child work is basically to contribute to the economic welfare of households; either to supplement household income (58.8%) or help in household enterprises (34.2%). Parents of 44 percent of the children reported that household living standards would fall and household enterprises could not operate in 21 percent of the cases, if the children did not work. About 30 percent of children did not need to work as household welfare would not be affected.
If parents had the choice they would prefer their children to be either schooling or in training and to complete their education. Most of the children themselves (70.3%) also preferred to go to school or complete their education before starting work. Parents' and children's preferences were thus different from what the children were actually doing. This suggests that some policy measure could help enroll and keep more children in the classroom as expected of their age group.
STREET CHILDREN SURVEY
Areas throughout the country, identified as sleeping places of street children, were purposely selected for the survey. A total of 2,314 street children were interviewed, out of whom 52.4 percent were females. The 15-17 age group constituted 50.1 percent of the total number. The highest proportion (56.6%) of the females was in the 10-14 age group, while that of the males (50.1%) was in the 15-17 age group. Greater Accra Region had the highest proportion (49.7%) of the street children, followed by Ashanti with 26.5 percent. Street children as a phenomenon, is virtually absent in the Upper West Region.
The street children were predominantly of Mole-Dagbani (40.2%) and Akan (32.2%) ethnic origins. Akans formed the greater proportion (53.4%) of male street children, while Mole-Dagbon made up 63.1 percent of the females. Only about 2 percent of the street children were married, with almost all of them being females.
A sizeable proportion of the street children (45.7%) had never attended school; only 11.2 percent (258) were attending school at the time of the survey. Of the 995 children who had attended school in the past, only 15.5 percent completed school. The rest had dropped out of school for one reason or the other, the major reason being the problem of affordability (60.9%). More than half (51.8%) of those attending school missed school for at least 3 days, while 35.8 percent missed school for the entire one week preceding the survey. The highest level of education attained by a large proportion of the children (34.5%) is primary school, with the proportion declining to 16.3 percent for junior secondary school. About 70 percent of the children aged 15-17 could neither read nor write; a high proportion were females.
The survey indicates that both parents of over three quarters (78.4%) of the street children were alive, while an additional 18.6 percent had either mother or father alive. Over 60 percent of the children reported that their parents were still married to each other and were working.
Street children need to work in order to survive on the street. Almost all the street children (98.1%) had engaged in economic activity within the last 12 months, while 96.6 percent had engaged in economic activity a week before the interview. (This is significantly higher than the 40% for usual economic activity and 31% current economic activity for children in households).
Majority of the street children (81.8%) reported that their work was demanding. Seventy-two percent of the street children who combined work with schooling reported that work affected their studies (much higher than the 25% for children in households). Over a quarter of the children (26.5%) had permanent jobs, while more than 70 percent were temporary workers. A large proportion (62.8%) was engaged as general labourers working as truck pushers and porters; 16.7 percent were sales workers.
Health and Safety
Majority (53.5%) of the street children had sustained some injury or illness in the form of cuts and wounds (this contrasts with the proportion of about 29% for children in households).
The major threats faced by children on the street come from harassment from the police and metropolitan officials as well as the bigger boys/girls on the street. Three out of every five of the street children mentioned marijuana (wee) as the illicit drug commonly found on the street. Only 3 percent of the children admitted taking any illicit drug.
Less than 10 percent of the children admitted they had boy/girl friends; the older children were more likely to be in a sexual relationship. While over 80 percent of the children had heard about HIV/AIDS (older children were even more aware), less than 48 percent of the children knew about other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). About 30 percent of the children knew about condoms as a means of protection; an additional 29 percent cited abstinence as protection against STDs.
The children cited free education (44%), free training (34%) and better jobs (19%) as the forms of government assistance that could improve their conditions.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
v1.1:Edited data for internal use.
The dataset was further cleaned and checked for consistencies and tabulation. Version 1is the raw data.
Household: Housing characteristics, general information on all houshold members.
Target group (children 5-17 years) : Economic and non-economic activites, work related health
and safety, perception of parents of working children, migration of children, education and skills training.
Street children: Socio-demographic charateristics, living arrangements, parental backgound, economic activity, health, safety and related activities, assistance to street children.
A nationally representative survey that covered all the ten administrative regions of Ghana and a non probability selection of locations of street children in all the regions.
The survey covered all household members in Ghana. All children aged 5-17 years in the household.
All children aged 5-17 years not in households but found in identifiable locations on the street.(see list of locations in appendix of report)
Producers and sponsors
Ghana Statistical Service
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning
National Commission on Children
Department of Social Welfare
Ministry of Manpower and Employment
Technical assistance and data capture
Natioal Progrmme Manager of ILO/IPEC
Government of Ghana
International Labour Organisation
The 2001 Ghana Child Labour Survey comprised both a nationwide probability sample survey of all households in Ghana and a supplementary non-probability survey of street children.
The sampling frame for the household-based sample survey was the list of all 26,555 Enumeration Areas (EAs) from the 2000 Population and Housing Census of Ghana with corresponding data on number of households. The household sample survey was based on a two-stage stratified cluster design. The frame was stratified into urban and rural localities of residence and by the 10 administrative regions in the country.
At the first stage, 500 Enumeration Areas (EAs) were systematically selected, with probability proportional to size, the measure of size being the number of census households. At the second stage, 20 households were selected from each of the 500 EAs to produce an overall sample size of 10,000 households. The design ensured that every household in the country had the same chance to be selected; in other words, the sample was self-weighting (see Appendix II for a detailed explanation of the sample design). The sampling process yielded the allocation of households to each stratum (urban/rural and region) shown in Table 2.1. The sample also yielded an average weight of 370.12 for each child. This means that each child in the survey represents about 370 children.
Deviations from the Sample Design
There was no deviation on the sample design.
Out of the 10,000 selected households, 9,889 were successfully interviewed, indicating a household response rate of 98.9 percent. A similar response rate was achieved in all regions and in rural/urban areas.
The design ensured that every household in the country had the same chance to be selected; in other words, the sample was self-weighting (see Appendix II for a detailed explanation of the sample design). The sampling process yielded the allocation of households to each stratum (urban/rural and region) shown in Table 2.1. The sample also yielded an average weight of 370.12 for each child. This means that each child in the survey represents about 370 children.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data for the household survey were collected by 25 teams under the direction of 10 zonal officers. Each team, consisting of a supervisor, four interviewers and one driver, was responsible for collecting data from 400 households. Data for the street children survey were collected by twelve 5-member teams who visited already identified locations where people sleep at night and interviewed children aged 5-17 years. Six of the teams worked in Greater Accra, three in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo and three in the remaining regions.
Field control measures involved regular checks by zonal officers and inspection by officers from the Project Secretariat. Supervisors were also required to coordinate team editing once a week and effect any corrections while in the field.
Data Collection Notes
Field workers were recruited from GSS staff in all the 10 regions of the country, the field staff of Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment, and a reserved list of persons with various academic background who had been involved in GSS surveys.
Two separate training programmes were organized for the household and street children surveys. In each case, the content of the training programme covered the background to the problem of child labour, rudiments of sampling, use of EA maps, organization and procedures of the survey, explanation of concepts, completing the questionnaire, simulated interviews, field exercises reviews, discussions and class assessments.
Overall performance was based on class assessments, participation in class discussions and in field exercise. The best and the most experienced among the trainees were selected as supervisors.
Data for the household survey were collected by 25 teams under the direction of 10 zonal officers. Each team, consisting of a supervisor, four interviewers and one driver, was responsible for collecting data from 400 households. Interviewers were provided with lists of census households showing addresses/locations and names of heads of selected households in the EAs assigned to them. Where interviewers could not locate a selected household, a replacement was made from five reserved households on the lists.
Data for the street children survey were collected by twelve 5-member teams who visited already identified locations where people sleep at night and interviewed children aged 5-17 years. Six of the teams worked in Greater Accra, three in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo and three in the remaining regions.
Field control measures involved regular checks by zonal officers and inspection by officers from the Project Secretariat. Supervisors were also required to coordinate team editing once a week and effect any corrections while in the field. Data collection began in mid-January 2001 and lasted for four weeks (the street children data collection activity lasted two weeks). Completed questionnaires were returned to the Project Secretariat in Accra for office editing and processing.
Ghana Statistical Service
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning
Ministry of Manpower and rural Employment
The questionnaires for the GCLS were based on the children's activities module of ILO Labour Force Survey instruments, which was adapted to Ghana's situation. Various drafts of the questionnaire were widely discussed with relevant organizations such as the Ghana National Commission on Children (GNCC), National Council of Women & Development, National Youth Council, Department of Social Welfare, Labour Department, Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment and others.
Originally, one questionnaire was designed for both children in households and street children with several provisions for skip, where applicable. A decision to have separate questionnaires was taken after the pilot survey, which showed that it was not easy to administer one questionnaire in the field. A pilot survey was conducted in October 2000 in three EAs each of the ten regions in the country. (The Street Children Survey pilot was confined to a few known areas in Accra).
Based on the experience from the pilot, the questionnaire was re-designed into two separate instruments, one for households and one for street children; some questions were re-worded and changes made in answer categories. The interviewer's manual and the work-load of field workers were extensively revised.
The household questionnaire collected information on housing/household characteristics, socio-demographic characteristics of all household members, information on economic activity, health and other conditions of children. The street children questionnaire collected information on socio-demographic characteristics, living arrangements, parental background, economic activities, health, safety and other related street issues and what assistance street children expected of society and government.
The household and street children questionnaires were subjected to rigorous office editing before data capture.
Data Processing started after a one-week training of 15 data entry operators from the Statistical Service and Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment. In the end, 10 were selected for the data capture.
Data entry was centralized at the head office . The main data entry software was the IMPS (Integrated Microcomputer Processing System). The two questionnaires, street children and the household questionnaires, were entered separately. Edit programs in CONCOR were used to edit the data, after which error listings were printed and corrected on EA level.
After editing, the ASCII data were put together and cleaned further, using SPSS and SAS. This was done by running consistency checks on every variable and the database was generated thereby. The analysis and tabulation were executed in SAS and SPSS. Estimates, standard errors, confidence intervals and design effects were generated using the CENVAR module in I MPS.
Estimates of Sampling Error
Generally, large samples are required for the study of rare phenomena such as child labour which may be described as 'hidden' in Ghana. The larger the sample, the lower the sampling errors associated with the estimates. Non-sampling errors which cannot be measured statistically, however, increase as the sample size increases since it becomes more difficult to control operationally. Sampling errors have been calculated for a select set of statistics for the national sample, urban and rural areas,and for each of the five regions. For each statistic, the estimate, its standard error, the coefficient of variation, the design effect and the square root design effect as well as 95 percent confidence interval are included. Details of the sampling errors are presented in the appendix of the main report.
A series of tables are available to review the quality of the data in the report.
Head, Publicity and Dissermination Division
Head, Data Storage, Archival and Retrieval Section
Confidentiality of respondents are assured under PNDC Law 135(1985)
Licensed dataset, acessible upon filling a contract/agreement form with the Ghana Statistical Service.
Ghana Statistical Service, Ghana Child Labour Survey 2001 (GCLS 2001), Version 1.1
Disclaimer and copyrights
Ghana Statistical Service bears no responsibility for the interpretations and inferences based upon the use of the dataset.